[ sey-vuh-ree ]
/ ˈseɪ və ri /
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See synonyms for: savory / savorier / savories / savoriness on Thesaurus.com

adjective, more sa·vor·y or (Rare) sa·vor·i·er, most sa·vor·y or (Rare) sa·vor·i·est.
pleasant or agreeable in taste or smell: a savory aroma.
piquant: a savory jelly.
pleasing, attractive, or agreeable.
noun, plural sa·vor·ies.
British. an aromatic, often spicy course or dish served either as an appetizer or as a dessert, as pickled fish or brandied fruit.
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Also especially British, sa·vour·y .

Origin of savory

First recorded in 1175–1225; Middle English savori; replacing Middle English savure, from Old French savoure, past participle of savourer “to savor”; see origin at savor, -y1

synonym study for savory

1, 2. See palatable.


sa·vor·i·ly, adverbsa·vor·i·ness, noun


savior, savor, savory

Other definitions for savory (2 of 2)

[ sey-vuh-ree ]
/ ˈseɪ və ri /

noun, plural sa·vor·ies.
any of several aromatic herbs belonging to the genus Satureja, of the mint family, especially S. hortensis(summer savory ) or S. montana(winter savory ), having narrow leaves used in cookery.

Origin of savory

1350–1400; Middle English saverey, perhaps for Old English sætherie<Latin saturēia (whence also Old English saturege,Middle English satureie)
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021


What does savory mean?

Savory describes the kind of rich flavor that’s most often associated with foods like meats and roasted vegetables.

There are often considered to be five basic taste sensations: sweet, sour, bitter, salty, and savory, or umami.

Separately, savory is the name of several kinds of aromatic herbs of the mint family used in cooking, such as ones known as summer savory and winter savory.

In the U.K., the word savory is also used to refer to a fragrant and sometimes spicy course or dish. (Such a dish may or may not be described as savory in the popular sense.)

Example: That roasted mushroom dish was so savory—it had such a dark, rich flavor.

Where does savory come from?

Savory is the adjective form of the word savor, which ultimately derives from the Latin verb sapere, “to taste.” The first records of the use of the word savory as an adjective come from around the 1200s. Originally, it was simply used to describe a pleasing scent or taste. It wasn’t until around the 1500s that it started to be used in its modern sense to specifically describe the kind of rich flavor that chefs and foodies might otherwise call umami.

The flavor we call savory is hard to describe. But you know it when you taste it. It’s definitely not sweet or sour. It may be a bit salty—and salt brings out savory flavors. Steak is savory. Mushrooms are savory. Roasted eggplant is savory. Things described as savory are often rich and dark and have an umami flavor that a food scientist will tell you is usually the result of amino acids dancing with taste receptors in your mouth. By the way, the word umami is Japanese for “savory quality” or “delicious taste.” (And sorry for making you hungry.)

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What are some other forms of savory?

  • savoury (British English spelling)
  • savoriness (noun)
  • savorily (adverb)

What are some synonyms for savory?

What are some words that share a root or word element with savory



What are some words that often get used in discussing savory?


How is savory used in real life?

Savory is used in the context of cooking and eating, and it’s typically used positively to refer to things that taste really good.



Try using savory!

Is savory used correctly in the following sentence?

That candy was so sugary and savory that it made my mouth pucker up!

How to use savory in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for savory

/ (ˈseɪvərɪ) /

noun plural -vories
any of numerous aromatic plants of the genus Satureja, esp S. montana (winter savory) and S. hortensis (summer savory), of the Mediterranean region, having narrow leaves and white, pink, or purple flowers: family Lamiaceae (labiates)
the leaves of any of these plants, used as a potherb

Word Origin for savory

C14: probably from Old English sætherie, from Latin saturēia, of obscure origin
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012